National Lampoon Appreciation Thread

And I don’t mean Van Wilder. :rolleyes:

I’ve been thinking lately about the old NatLamp, which was one of the seminal (in all meanings) comedy publication of its time. I’d guess most people might only remember the name in connection with some good (Animal House) to louse (too many to name) movies, but, in the beginning, it was a major force.

The original magazine featured work by such people as Henry Beard, Michael O’Donoghue, P. J. O’Rourke, Doug Kenney, Bruce McCall, Ed Subitzky, Chris Miller, John Hughes and quite a few others.

NatLamp actually succeeded in many forms of media. They produced a record album Radio Dinner. Their off-Broadway show Lemmings gave a start to Chevy Chase, John Belushi, and Christopher Guest, among others. And The National Lampoon Radio Hour featured Chase, Belushi, Guest, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, Gilda Radner, Harry Shearer, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, and Richard Belzer, among others, all before they became famous. As the cast list shows, the original SNL depended heavily on NatLamp alumni, and had Michael O’Donoghue as its head writer (and occasional Not Ready for Prime Time Player in the beginning).

The Lampoon was as tasteless as South Park and managed to be so in a spectacularly funny manner that has rarely been duplicated. They have a Website that seems to be going all right, but it’s not what the original was. Luckily, some of the classic articles from the past are online there. For instance:

Michael O’Donoghue’s “How to Write Good”, a hilarious “guide” to writing professionally (and actually quite useful, if you can read between the jokes).

Chris Miller’s very bawdy Remembering Mama

John Hughes’s My Penis, which showed just how warped he was before he got into movies.

And of course, The Utterly Monstrous, Mind-Roasting Summer of O. C. and Stiggs. O.C. and Stiggs were precursors to Beavis and Butthead, only much sicker. The most amazing thing about this is that Robert Altman (!) directed a movie of it.

There’s a very good history of the Lampoon at Mark’s Very Large Lampoon Site

On to the foto funnies.

Hello, fellow traveler and well met indeed…

Yes, I must confess that I have several boxes of old NatLamps in my Scary Dungeon o’Reading Matter…

Weird things that are funny for no good reason are still referred to as “Prickly Pears” around my house…

My cat is named Stiggs, wanna guess why? Yes, we did used to have an Outdoor Cat as well…

The Batwinged Hamburger Snatcher is still an all time favorite character, and Dan O’Neill is a god…

“How to Drive Real Fast On Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink,” classic P.J. O’Rourke before he became a right winger… :rolleyes:

And who was that Foto Funny chick with the enormous knockers, anyway? Damn!

They should make a movie out of Evil Clown. Or Bernie X.

The Kennedy Re-Inauguration issue was a classic.

(During the 1968 election, Dick Tuck and his Merry Pranksters “kidnapped” Pat Nixon until Richard dropped out of the race. Tasteless and spot-on accurate.)

I remember it around the mid 70s, when PJ O’Rourke was still alive. Hilariously bad taste.

The NY State Bar Exam (you open it up and there are no questions, just a congrats on becoming “one of us”. All the people in the exam hall actually answering questions have already been rejected. “Rest assured that none of the Negroes in the hall have been accepted…”) Sick.

Or the “vaginal thermometer”, which you could cut out and, apparently, wrap around your penis.

Oh, and I’ve got the album “That’s not funny. That’s sick.” Aptly named.

Does anyone know if they’ve packaged the old magazine material into books? Tried searching Amazon once but couldn’t find anything in print.

“Canada–Retarded Giant on Your Doorstep,” with the cover depicting Lieut. William Calley as Alfred E. Newman.


“Dirty Duck.”

Classic years of satire.

And the private eye in an iron lung - what was his name???

Don’t forget Baba Rum Raisin.

I suppose I wasn’t unique in discovering National Lampoon at the same time in my life that my buds and I discovered grass and hash. I remember laughing uncontrollably every time I saw the word “Spiggy” (Mrs. Agnew’s Diary:D ).

Do you remember this cover?

The “Foto Funnies” chick was named Danielle.

I recommend “If You Don’t Buy This Book, We’ll Kill This Dog,” by Matty Simmons, who had a very big part in creating the National Lampoon. He pains himself in an (I’m sure) unrealistically flattering light, but he discusses the genesis of the magazine, the death of Doug Kenney, difficulties on the sets of the movies…and his description of how Tim Matheson was half of the team that totally buried the magazine in the late '80s has made me seethe every time I see that that hack is still getting acting work.

My bathroom reading when I was about 8-11 was “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex…*” and back issues of the Lampoon…including the issue with “Remembering Mama,” and I remember an article FILLED with porn, showing the different ways in which pornographic articles could be “blocked” and thus get past obscenity laws.

And I used to totally love “Cheech Wizard” and “Trots & Bonnie.” Yes, at the age of 10. Yes, I’ve considered the possibility that my current personality has been WARPED and TWISTED by these HORRIBLE people.

Thank you, National Lampoon, for helping make me the perverted adolescent 31-year-old I am today. :smiley:

I have “Best of the Lampoon #6,” so obviously they did. This link should take you to a list of what’s available.

They are probably considered too topical to keep in print. I suspect they’re hard to find because no one wants to get rid of them. :slight_smile:

I also forgot to mention their classic High School Yearbook and Sunday Paper parodies. They created an entire community – Dacron, Ohio (which also appeared in their post-election issue in 1976, where it described the mayoral race in Dacron that had strange similarities to Carter/Ford).

Other great articles:

Stupid Aptitude Test – “Clasmy:Venge::”
Saturday Night on Antares (The Planet with Twelve Different Sexes) – a compendium of dating cliches of the time.
Doc Feeney’s Scrapbook of Sports Oddities
The Self-Indulgence issue: When it Comes to Revolution, We’re All You Have Left, Poon Beat, and Our Sunday Comics – All about the writers of the Lampoon satirizing themselves.

And, of course, the Letters from the Editors.

THE NATIONAL LAMPOON TREASURY OF HUMOR: 72 Classics Collected from the Magazine’s 20-year History, edited by Al Sarrantonio, was published by Fireside Books in 1991.

It includes some fine material, such as John Hughes’ “How Your Parents Had Sex,” Doug Kenney’s “Nancy Reagan’s Guide to Dating Do’s and Don’t’s,” and Ellis Weiner’s “On Chili: The Last Word.” Plus generous samplings from “Bernie X,” “Canadian Corner,” “Tell Debby,” and “Letters to the Editor.”

God, I LOVED NatLamp when I was a teenager. Anyone else remember that great new drug craze from 1975…Assholio? One user woke up after a three day binge to find that he had “cost his father his job, stolen his best friend’s girl, and earned a law degree.”

I really loved a lot of the National Lampoon Radio Hour stuff – particularly the song parodies: “Pull the Tregroes” (Joan Baez), “You Put Me Through Hell” (Joni Mitchell), “Methadone Maintenance Man” (James Taylor), “Well-Intentioned Blues” (Pete Seeger), “Every Day I Feel Depressed” (B.B. King), “Deteriorata”, “Mother Goose’s Wine”, etc., almost all of Lemmings – another James Taylor parody (“Highway Toes”), Christopher Guest’s Bob Dylan take “Positively Wall Street”, and Belushi’s Joe Cocker parody “Lonely at the Bottom” – as well as stuff like the Bob-Dylan-does-a-late-night-TV-compilation-album ad “Those Fabulous Sixties” (funnier in 1972, of course, but still good), “Frank Rizzo: The Philadelphia Police League for Retarded Children”, the Cheech and Chong parody “Channel Surfing” (which included a pretty good Monty Python parody embedded in it), the game show “Catch It and You Keep It”, and so on. But the supreme achievement, the one that served as a touchstone for myself and my closest friends in college, was “The Immigrants: The Hillbillies” a parody of public radio shows, with the premise being that hillbillies were an ethnic group who immigrated to the US from Europe. To this day “In America, they got cheese in aerosol cans” will still send several of us into fits of giggles. Not to mention this Ellis Island exchange:

My favorite part was always the Letters to the Editor. There is a compilation of the “True Facts” that is available. I just bought a copy from Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago.

RealityChuck - many thanks.

The rock music parodies! Anyone remember “Southern California Brings Me Down” by their faux Neil Young???

Try They list bunches of NatLamp books and individual magazines for sale.

I’ve got more than a dozen of NatLamp items. The ones I remember best are the early collections, like The Paperback Conspiracy, This Side of Parodies (my favorite) and their collection of political (read: Nixon) humor, Would You Buy a Used War from This Man?

I’ve also got several Harvard Lampoon items, including their parodies of Playboy, Time and Sports Illustrated. You don’t see those around much anymore.

My dad once showed me the high school yearbook and Sunday newspaper parodies. My favorite was the Food Clown circular.

“Chocolate cheese! Kids love it!”

The first NatLamp I bought was the famous one with the dog on the cover, with the gun held to its head, and the caption "If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll shoot this dog. That was circa 1972. I bought pretty much every issue until shortly after PJ O’Rourke left the organization.

I really loved the comic strips, like “Nuts” by Gahan Wilson, and “Trots and Bonnie”. Also the special pull-out pamplet “A young girl’s guide to sex”. Timeless Q & A, like:

Q: How long should the sex act last?
A: 15 to 30 seconds. Some especially talented men are able to prolong the sex act beyond the previously-thought-to-be-unbreakable 60 second mark. If you ever do encounter one of these “one minute wonders”, don’t tell your girlfriends or they’ll try to steal him from you.

Q: How will I know if I’ve had an orgasm?
A: If when your man has finished, you’re left with a feeling of vague dissatisfaction and the thought that there should still be something more to it, you can rest assured that you’ve just had an orgasm.

Used to listen the the National Lampoon Radio “Hour” on good old KBOO. Listener supported: “Come on down and help out. Can’t miss us, we’re the only radio station on the block.”

Many of the voice actors for NLRH went on to be key players on the original SNL, some coming from SC groups, YMMV.

Got a lot of the old collections. The high school yearbook parody, “The Gentleman’s Bathroom Companion”, the first Comics collection, etc. Love Cheech Wizard. The Lizard is still the only cartoon I can draw.

And then it just tanked.

“You slug’s pecker, you pinhead toad, you lost my BEER MONEY!!!”

Man, nobody handled dialogue like that Bode. He’s hanging out with Noel Coward in heaven.
– Ukulele “Here’s a kick in the balls!” Ike